MUMBAI: The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Wednesday deferred the framing of charges after Lt Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit and others, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, raised objections on the validity of sanction for their prosecution under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Purohit's plea to restrain the trial court from framing charges against him and others in the case was rejected by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. However, one of the accused in the case, former Major Ramesh Upadhyay, on Wednesday, argued that first it should be decided whether the UAPA is applicable on them, before the trial commences.
Special judge Vinod Padalkar then adjourned the matter and said the court will hear arguments of all the accused on this from next Monday. The arguments will be heard on a day-to-day basis, starting with Purohit, the judge said. In an explosion near a mosque at Malegaon on September 29, 2008, Six people were killed and nearly 100 injured.
Purohit and others have been under arrest in the case since 2009. On December 27, last year the trial court had dismissed the pleas filed by Purohit, his co-accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and six others seeking discharge from the case. However, the court gave them partial relief by dropping all charges against them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Their appeals against this order are pending before the high court. In another petition before the High Court, Purohit had urged it to stay the framing of charges until the issue of his sanction of prosecution was decided by the HC.
Sanction for Purohit's prosecution was issued on January 17, 2009 by the additional chief secretary of the Maharashtra Home department and the High Court on December 18 last year refused to quash the sanction after which he had approached the Supreme Court that refused to intervene in the case on April 20.